India Travel Chronicles
Thoughts on India:
by contributing writer: Nicole Huggins
Be prepared for an emotional meltdown as soon as you land.
It’s one of the most spiritual places filled with the strongest and happiest people I have ever met. I was both saddened and enlightened at the same time. I found myself alternating between crying and feeling totally inspired at odd times during my trip.
The juxtaposition of beautiful hotels overlooking the village slums. Structured chaos.
Never in my life have I felt such guilt and sadness layered with motivating positivity.
It was emotionally confusing.
Listen.....Amazing sounds. They change throughout the day. Especially at dawn when you hear the village speakers “call to prayer”. Beautiful. The hustle and bustle sound of the city life is energizing. While nature’s sweet quietude of the countryside is mesmerizing to the soul.
Eat, Eat, Eat....I always thought I LOVED Indian food. ( At home) The spicier the better. Well, I was in complete shock at the true spiciness of the food in India.
But some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had.
Be carefully aware of the children but give them love and a smile. They are taught to beg (some to steal) and its a way of life. Life’s a hustle. I’m from Brooklyn.....I get that.
That being said, if you want to, keep singles ready for each day if you want to give money, but do not pull out your wallet. Just be smart. This is nothing new when traveling, but India being intensely populated makes this tip even more relevant.
Do not allow people to take pics of you. They may want money. Remember, some people have never left India...ever. As a black woman, people thought I was every black celeb they ever heard of. Especially in Agra. This happened to me. Thankfully my guide was there to tell the person that they should respect that I am a visitor and didn’t want my picture taken for money. ( At least that’s what he told me he said)
So it’s best to travel in groups or with a guide and be careful. Yet understand their shock and inquisitive reactions. Do not get angry.
It’s like seeing a unicorn
I used white wine to brush my teeth. Seriously. Even the shower water can get visitors sick. We simply do not have the same “intestinal fortitude”.
Careful of getting it in nostrils and eyes even.
Tip: Order a glass of wine....(or two) each night. One to drink and one to gargle and rinse your toothbrush with. Now don’t just dip your toothbrush into the glass. That would be sacrilege....pour onto bristles so that you can enjoy what is left.
You’ll thank me later.
Do not get ice, drink water or eat the cut fruits or uncooked foods or vegetables in hotel or during your travels. (Trust me and my GI doctor). Cut fruit in the hotel did me in on my last few days when I got too carefree. Got sick after I got home. 🤢. It’s not necessary the food. As I said, the food is sooo delicious. It’s most likely residual water on uncooked produce. Bottled water is the way to go.
India for me was a trip that allowed me to come home and make changes in my life.
It teaches you that you don’t “need” all the crap you think you do. It teaches you humility and thankfulness for life.
One of the best trips in my entire life.